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Del Mar College rolling out Dual Credit FAST program with tuition at no cost for ALL Coastal Bend high school students

Implementation of Dual Credit Financial Aid for Swift Transfer program begins this fall

Article by Melinda Eddleman

With the new school year underway, there’s a new opportunity for high school students in the Coastal Bend region to earn college credits at no cost from Del Mar College (DMC). The Dual Credit Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (FAST) program rolls out this fall at the College with funding administered through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

A part of House Bill 8 (HB 8), the Dual Credit FAST program provides greater accessibility to higher education at no cost for students defined as educationally disadvantaged, specifically those who qualified for free or reduced-priced lunch during any of the four school years prior to enrolling in an eligible dual credit course.

Del Mar College is expanding the initiative to “no cost” tuition and fees for all high school students, including those considered non-qualifying FAST dual credit students, taking eligible credit and continuing education courses and attending one of the partnering independent school districts (ISDs) and charter schools in the region.

We’re taking the program one step further by expanding this opportunity to all students regardless of their economic status. This ‘no cost’ approach gives many more students the financial incentive to earn certificates or associate’s degrees while in high school to become skilled employees in the workforce or to continue their path at a public Texas university after completing the transferable 42-hour core curriculum. Either way, Del Mar College is committed to making higher education accessible to all Coastal Bend high school students through the Dual Credit FAST program.

Mark Escamilla, Ph.D., Del Mar College President and Chief Executive Officer

Currently, the College is working with approximately 41 ISDs and charter schools on Memorandum of Understanding agreements to implement the Dual Credit FAST program among their high schools to provide no-cost to their non-FAST eligible dual credit students.

Until now, the College charged $33 per semester credit hour (SCH) for its dual credit program, but the Board approved a $55 cost per SCH with the state reimbursing DMC for those qualifying for the Dual Credit FAST program under HB 8. DMC will use other resources to cover tuition and fees for those students who do not qualify for the program.

For qualifying students in the Dual Credit FAST program, HB 8 also requires that these students not pay for textbooks, supplies, uniforms, testing and other associated course costs.

The Dual Credit FAST program is one of the best ways Del Mar College can provide students with the greatest need access to our credit and continuing education courses to earn certificates, associate’s degrees or industry-recognized credentials. The program will give students upward economic mobility through these life-changing opportunities that will benefit them and their families.

Lenora Keas, DMC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

The Dual Credit FAST program requires that eligible courses satisfy at least one of the following criteria that meet:

·      a requirement to obtain an associate’s degree or an industry recognized credential or certificate,
·      a foreign language requirement,
·      a core curriculum requirement, or
·      a field of study requirement.

The College will work with ISDs and charter schools to implement all aspects of the enhanced dual credit model to streamline degree plans and course inventory advising while providing a financial incentive that aligns with the new funding structure for the College as a result “Del Mar College’s expansion of our no-cost dual credit program for all high school students sets the building blocks for a well-educated, highly-trained population that will of HB 8.

“Del Mar College’s expansion of our no-cost dual credit program for all high school students sets the building blocks for a well-educated, highly-trained population that will not only keep our region’s workforce and economy competitive but also address specific goals aligned with the state’s higher education strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas,” said Keas.

She added, “We’re all about giving South Texas residents educational opportunities that transform and improve their lives. What better way is there than to make our dual credit program accessible to all  Coastal Bend high school students who represent our region’s future.”

Information about Del Mar College’s Dual Credit Programs is available online at www.delmar.edu/offices/earlycollege/ or contact the Early College Programs Office at 361-698-1634 or dualcredit@delmar..edu.




About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.